2018 Junior Summer Reading 

Please read this information carefully for summer reading expectations for all rising juniors  It is important for all students to have completed these texts prior to the start of school in September.  While there is no written work required as part of the summer assignment, we do want for students to read carefully and thoughtfully; thus, some students may want to take notes or to keep a journal as part of the active engagement of their chosen texts.  All students will spend several class periods engaging in some activities related to summer reading in early September and will then complete one or more writing assignments involving these texts. 

AP ENGLISH III STUDENTS ONLYIn addition to the two choice books noted below, all rising juniors who are planning to take AP English III are required to read Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg. 

REQUIRED Reading #1

All rising juniors (in both AP and regular levels) will first read ONE of the three novels listed below. 
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    This novel is the story of a Nigerian young woman who moves from Nigeria to Princeton and back again, sharing the milestones and obstacles, large and small, that mark her coming of age journey.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
    In Hurston’s novel, a young woman in the rural South faces a series of choices in following her heart in order to find love, her voice, and herself.
  • Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann
    This post-9/11 novel centers on multiple narrators – each of whom face difficult choices in New York City in the early 1970s.  This contemporary text highlights a range of voices and a great tapestry of life experiences built around the exploits of a daredevil and acrobat who walks across a tightrope between the two World Trade Center buildings.   

Required Reading #2 

In addition, all rising juniors will read ONE additional text. This second choice text may be another novel listed above or it may be from the list below. 


  • Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes
    Set in Philadelphia, the protagonist, Elliot, returns from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world while elsewhere, in a chatroom, recovering addicts forge a bond of love and support.  
  • The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman
    Set in Laramie, Wyoming, Kaufman dramatizes, through multiple narratives, the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard and the lasting effects that it has had – on this rural community specifically and on LGBTQ issues in general.
  • Angels in America by Tony Kushner
    Set during the early days of the AIDS crisis, Kushner explores family, the effects of disease, political will, religious faith, and the myth of America.


  • An Atlas of the Difficult World by Adrienne Rich
    A 1992 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rich’s two-part collection of poems investigates the individual’s sometimes unnoticed identities.  The poems consider the sadness as well as the significance of the tensions that individuals manage.  Often political, Rich’s images illuminate the conflicted and nuanced nature of existence in society.
  • Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
    In this thought-provoking and engaging collection of poetry, Vuong expresses conflicted emotions and perspectives as he reflects on his life as a refugee. His poetry wrestles with violence, the immigrant experience, sexuality, and the struggle between the inner life and the outer face.
  • Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
    The epic poem by “America’s Bard,” written in 1855, analyzes the world through an exploration of his inner life. 


  • How Does It Feel to Be a Problem by Moustafa Bayoumi
    This collection of stories, told from the perspective of seven young Arab immigrants, examines what it means to be young and Arab in America.  Each young voice encounters unique struggles in trying to forge a new life, while constantly confronted by the fear of what others do not understand.
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
    Bechdel’s graphic novel explores the life of her father, a closeted gay man, in the aftermath of his death, perhaps a tragic accident, perhaps a suicide. In learning about him, Bechdel dives deep into her identity and what her father’s identity means for her.
  • A Question of Freedom by Reginald Dwayne Betts
    The text focuses on Betts's experiences with the American criminal justice system and the ways in which our society pushes to label and define people based on one action. His memoir considers the role of literature in helping him navigate his time in prison and questions how someone can remain free.
  • The Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore
    This book tells the story of Ben Franklin’s younger sister Jane – an avid reader, a prolific writer, and a biting political commentator. Yet, unlike her brother, her primary life role was not as a statesman but instead as a mother of twelve children. Lepore explores this lesser known – but not lesser – life.
  • The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday
    This short novel features three voices that each tell the story of the Kiowa people: Momaday’s memories of stories from his childhood, the ancient Kiowa voice of his ancestors, and the historical record of these moments.